The Necropolises of Apollonia

One of the best studied archeological site, related to the history of the ancient city, is the necropolis of Apollonia, located in the areas of the Sea Garden, “Harmani”, “Kalfata”, “Kolokita” and “Solinaria”.

The “City of the Dead Apollonians” is organized on both sides of a coastal road around which are separated family plots, surrounded by stone walls (peribolos). The most common practice is the burial in ordinary pit. In other cases, the burial structures are constructed of massive stone blocks (cists) or above the body of the deceased roof tiles, forming eaves, are placed. Amphorae or other large ceramic vessels are used for the burial of young children. Rarely, the cremation is used as burial rite, in which the skeletal remains are laid in stone, ceramic or bronze urns. In the context of graves tombstones, made by marble or limestone, with the names of the buried people are found.

Cist graves from the necropolis

Evidence of post-burial rituals from necropolis contexts is the so-called “ritual fireplaces” and deposits of ritual fragmented vessels (trizna). It is also common practice in the graves, along with the various gifts (drinking vessels, toilet articles, terracotta figurines, jewelry and weapons) that accompany the deceased in the afterlife, to place a coin called the “Charon’s obol”. Miniature objects, lead scrolls (katadesmos) and inscriptions on vessels testify for magical practices and curses.

On eminence or coastal capes close to the polis, around the individual necropolis sections, are erected burial mounds (tumuli), which also serve as symbolic landmarks. The more prominent Apollonian citizens are buried there. The most interesting are the finds from the tumuli of Cape Kolokita, along the St. Iliya Ridge and in the Mappi locality.

Tumulus, Cape Kolokita, 4th c. BC

During the late Hellenistic period, due to the unstable political situation in the region, the necropolis spaces were located in the immediate vicinity of the city center of Apollonia. A number of graves, dating from the end of the 3rd – beginning of the 1stcentury BC, have been explored in the area of the isthmus (today Sea Garden). Necropolises from the Roman (1st – 4th century AD) and early Byzantine period (5th – 7th century AD) are also registered here.